Before even looking for a job, it’s important to realise what you’re getting yourself into.
Getting a job is exciting and new, but if you don’t have the patience or resilience to keep going and turning up, you need to evaluate the situation. Building a CV is important as it follows you around the whole of your life. When employers look at a CV no matter how impressive an institution you got a job at, it’s not going to look impressive if you only lasted a week there!
As someone who’s been in part time employment for nearly 2 years (both through this blogging job for a year and returning for my second, and a commis chef role in a kitchen for nearly 2 years which I left before the summer), I know something about rolling out of bed at 6 when you don’t want to and trying to hit deadlines when you’re under a mountain of work. Many of my fellow students also have these struggles doing long spilt shifts on a weekend and working all through the holidays as well.
So here are my tips on getting (and keeping) a job!
Getting a job
Your CV is the first and only thing employers have to judge you on. (Read my post next week for Becky’s CV masterclass, where I’ll include more details on how to write a professional CV). A CV should show professionalism, personality and capabilities through experience.
When writing your CV, you should be condensing all the vital information the employer needs to know into a cohesive and concise document. A CV should be thought about like an advertisement for yourself, you should be presenting the best possible version of yourself to increase your chances of an interview.
Applying for a job can be done in a variety of ways:
- Emailing – There are a few ups and downs to emailing in an application. The upside is most businesses check and respond to their emails and there is a high chance of it getting passed on to the relevant person. However, you could find your hard work in the spam section.
- Websites – Websites such as Indeed and Monster can be used to apply for jobs. The upside of this is it’s an easy way to apply for a lot of jobs, quickly. Another great thing about these websites is all the job information is clear and concise, including hours, pay and specification. The downside of this is websites can sometimes be out of date or incorrect, and employers don’t always look at these sorts of websites regularly.
- Through mutual connection – For my industry, the hospitality industry and for many other industries, it can be a case of ‘its not what you know, it’s who you know’. That can sometimes be true to a point. Networking is never a bad idea when it comes to finding a job, knowing others in your industry can aid you in terms of job advice and employment.
- Walk in – Walk ins are either a love or hate approach. I’ve been given advice that it’s a proactive approach and it shows passion. Some people, however, say it’s a waste of time as when people are busy in a restaurant they don’t have time for job seekers.
- Letters – Back to the old fashioned way. Personally I love letters, they are formal and personal. However, applying for jobs in this way could result in getting chucked in the recycling, especially in large corporations.
- Placement – For me this is definitely one of the best ways of getting a job. Gaining a job after work experience is perfect, it’s given you and the employer a chance to see firstly if you can do the job, and if you like the job. Doing work experience gives you a chance to see how you fit into the environment as well as if you can cope with the work load. Getting a job after a placement is a massive compliment as the employer clearly likes how you’ve behaved over your placement.
- Unitemps – Unitemps is a website which can be accessed via university or independently, it is a great place to apply for temporary staffing jobs. It’s easy to use and to receive payment timesheets are submitted meaning you can do multiple jobs on the go.
So for me this is the worst part of the process… the interview! Interviews are awkward, nerve wracking and just plain horrible. Interviews are hard and no one likes them (if you do, you’re weird and we can’t be friends). The best advice I can give with interviews is to practise. Practice interviews are a great way to boost confidence. A service UCB provides is mentoring, which pairs college students with university students to help with transitioning between FE and HE. I found this super helpful, my mentor was so lovely and a confidante during my final months at college. (Shoutout to Alex!) As Alex knew I had a placement interview coming up, we did practice interviews and worked on simple things such as body language and eye contact.
Trial shifts only apply in certain industries but in a lot of vocational industries – such as being a chef or working in hair and beauty, hospitality etc – trial shifts work on the basis that you get the job on the provision you do well on one shift. Trials are often based on the position you are applying for, so the level of job normally determines the level of the trial’s difficulty. For example, when I worked at a hotel for my trial I was asked to julienne carrots but speaking to one of my lecturers, they used to get her trial chefs to make lemon meringue pie to ensure chefs had all basic skills. Therefore, trials are nothing to be worried about as it is beneficial to the employer to see the practical skills of the employee, as well as for the employee to be used to the environment and decide if this is really the job you want.
hired is a facility for students and alumni of UCB who provide various services to help you find a job. Interview practice, CV masterclasses and use of Unitemps are all options when visiting hired @UCB. I’ve used their services myself for support and guidance and would recommend them. They can be found through the Portal or in Summer Row.
Keeping a job
Finding a job is not always the hard part, it’s keeping it. A few simple ways to keep a job is to be punctual, professional and social with colleges. Keeping a job is also about the relationship between employer and employee, a bit of give and take and mutual respect.
Finding a job is a great way to get some industry experience and some money in your back pocket.